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  • The Loneliest Planet

    The Loneliest Planet

    ★★★½

    Clinical in service of being cynical, The Loneliest Planet is a rigorous study of surfaces — a slow film that needs to be. Loktev fixates on the strange, otherworldly terrain of the Caucasus while presenting us with a couple in the midst of a journey through green meadows and rocky hillsides. Because we aren’t afforded context of any sort, we can only understand Nica and Alex in terms of their surface affection for one another, frolicking in fields and swimming…

  • Phantom Thread

    Phantom Thread

    ★★★★½

    Psychologically complex, formally precise, and emotionally devastating. As with most great art, Phantom Thread only improves with each subsequent revisit, because it never lends itself to obvious interpretation. I may have initially devalued the film for its inexplicable perversities and an apparent coldness — the film is rated R here in the states, and yet we never so much as see the couple in bed together. The seeming chasteness, along with the period decorum, put a fair bit of distance…

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  • The Bling Ring

    The Bling Ring

    ★★½

    Ambitiously attempts to mine satire for pathos but comes up short. The end result is occasionally interesting, but mostly obvious and redundant.

  • Eyes Wide Shut

    Eyes Wide Shut

    ★★★★½

    Strange that this was met with a mixed critical reception when it’s a straight-up masterpiece. Unquenched subconscious desire spills into reality, exposing the propensity for human frailty and eventually, sympathy.